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Video surveillance: Pick spots with care

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in Office Management

Suspect an employee is goofing off at work or perhaps sleeping at his desk? You’d like to have better evidence than just the say-so of a co-worker who says he caught the employee playing solitaire or napping.

You want good, solid proof that the employee is slacking.

In most cases, it’s perfectly legal to set up surveillance cameras to keep an eye on your employees. However, be sure to do it the right way.

It is absolutely essential to very clearly spell out what’s happening so employees understand they are being watched. No hidden cameras!

Make sure your handbook states that the company may use surveillance cameras at work. Explain that employees don’t have the right to privacy in cubicles, hallways, offices or other “public” places.

Of course, exclude obviously private spots such as the restrooms or new-mom nursing stations. Employers have lost big in cases involving bathroom or shower taping, especially when the targets were women and the videos were shown to people with no legitimate need to view them.

Advice: Consult your attorney before establishing a video surveillance system. State privacy laws may limit where you can place cameras.

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